I'm sure you remember all the publicity and the great deal of fanfare made when Ashton Kutcher was racing for that magic Million Follower mark on Twitter. I mean, how could you miss it? It was -everywhere-.
Now, I understand that part of that had to do with the fact that Ashton's a celeb, that his "feud" was with CNN and that Larry King was involved. But if you remember the frenzy, and the resulting flood of new Twitter users -- can we forget when Oprah joined? And then tweeted!-- then you'd have to believe that hitting a million Twitter followers has to be an event of fairly epic proportions.
Well, I have a question for all the news outlets out there.
Have you heard of @Agent_M?
@Agent_M is none other than Marvel.com Editor Ryan Penagos and he's currently got 979,988 followers.
I want to know when you're going to cover his "Race to 1 Million Followers"? And, if you're not, why not? It is a milestone and I think it's actually loads more relevant to the power of Twitter and social media than Ashton's campaign earlier this year. (FYI, I'm not hating on Ashton Kutcher. I'm more than happy to give him his due, but indulge my reasoning below, hm? )
If you read this article on Marvel.com you'd have the basics. But here's a bit more info from my personal experience. If you follow Ryan Penagos, you know he's got a thing for kittens, tacos, zombies, all things cute and he's deeply in love with his fiancee. It's also very clear that he's working with and for Marvel.Com to bring Marvel fans the most up to date news on all things Marvel.
So, yes, it's marketing and I think he's amazingly good at it.
But it's so much more than that and this is where I think Ryan not only shows the growing value in the use of social media as a marketing tool, but how to be amazingly human and help the community at the same time.
On any given day, you'll see tweets from @Agent_M answering questions for new Twitter followers about how to actually use the service. He frequently tweets about local New York taco and dessert trucks (and includes Twitter names where applicable), shares links to pet adoptions, and shares information about breast cancer awareness. I have a feeling more than one New York restaurant has seen an increase in business or interest because Ryan decided to tweet about their drink menu or the amazing dinner he just had. (Oh, can I just say, I love when he does that after too much wine. Hee.)
He was included in Wired's 100 Geeks You Should Be Following On Twitter and he's on Twitter's recommendation list for new users when seeking interesting people to follow.
In short, @Agent_M is an ambassador for Twitter, Marvel, and New York. Not to mention, he's one of those people my Twitter feed would feel utterly naked without.
So, here's my challenge to you, CNN and any of the other news outlets who likes to talk about Twitter and the influence of the Twitterverse.
How about making this a story? ;-)
p.s. The follower count jumped up to 980,157 while I was writing this, so we only have 20K to go.